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Builders fined after pedestrian hit by equipment

A major building company has been fined by Westminster Magistrates’ Court after a woman waiting for a bus was struck by a piece of machinery being lifted to the fifth floor of a nearby office block.

The unnamed woman suffered severe injuries including several broken bones, cuts and swelling to her head and was hospitalised for eight days following the incident. To make matters worse, the injuries have affected both her working prospects and her studies.

The building firm in question, Concentra Ltd, was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the incident, and was subsequently fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £21,000.

The Court heard that Concentra was refurbishing a building and instead of traditional scaffolding being used on the site in order to safely pass equipment, a mast climber had been erected. The climber allowed workers to be raised and lowered on the outside of the building.

However, a HSE investigation found that a poorly fitter crane and lifting slings were being used to raise a 380kg air handling unit, and during the lift, the unit hit a mast climber and was knocked out of its sling causing it to fall from height and crash into the injured woman.

“Concentra Ltd failed in its duty to manage the safety of persons affected by its activities,” commented HSE Inspector, Bose Ogunsekan. “A high risk activity such as using a crane to lift this sort of load on the site should have been fully risk assessed during the planning stages of the project.

“In addition, further measures that would have also protected members of the public from site traffic, such as an alternative pedestrian route and a temporary bus stop elsewhere, could have prevented injury to passers by.”

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